Kodagu bandh called by coffee growers peaceful

Madikeri: The Kodagu bandh called on Monday by various coffee grower organisations and associations demanding early release of a relief package was peaceful in the district, with a few places, including Madikeri, witnessing total bandh.

Attendance was thin in government offices. Banks and educational institutions remained closed in almost all parts of Kodagu.

However, students who had to go to colleges to take examinations were allowed to do so. Private buses and autorickshaws remained off the road. KSRTC buses were not allowed to enter Madikeri city.

The bandh was total in Madikeri, Virajpet, Murnad, Kushalnagar, Gonicoppa, Ponnampet, Balele, and Hudikeri, while it was partial in Polibetta and Siddapur.

However, the response was poor in Somwarpet, Kodlipet, Nellihudikri and Sunticoppa in Somwarpet taluk.

Roads were blocked at Mutharmudi and Cheyyandane in Madikeri taluk, and Chinnalli near Shanivarasante in Somwarpet taluk. No incidents were reported during the bandh, Superintendent of Police Manjunath Annigeri told The Hindu.

Representatives of grower organisations, including the former vice-chairman of the Coffee Board S.M. Kaverappa, told Deputy Commissioner K.H. Ashwatha Narayana Gowda, who met them at General K.S. Thimayya Circle, that the plight of the growers should be understood by the Government. They demanded that the Centre release the relief package immediately.

Mr. Naresh, who read out a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, said that the growers would give three months for their demands to be fulfilled and if nothing happened by then they would demand the resignation of elected representatives from the district.

Dr. Kaverappa, who read out a memorandum addressed to Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, requested him to announce the package early to enable small and marginal growers to tide over the economic crises.

The Centre, had prepared a Rs. 504.8-crore package for small growers (below 25-acre holdings) to waive their loans.But, the package was not released owing to pressure from certain large growers, who wanted the plantation purchase and land purchase loans to be included in the package, they said.

The Deputy Commissioner, who received the memorandum, said that he would forward the memorandum to the Centre.

 – The Hindu

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